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Drive-In (restaurants or Movies) stories of your past


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Mandt's Drive-in, a local place, had the best hot dogs and root beer so cold it had a layer of very fine ice in it. That sure hit the spot as a treat after pushing a rotary blade mower and trimming around all the rock walls we had with those handheld grass clippers . :D When I moved out Dad bought a power mower and an electric string trimmer. :rolleyes:

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When I was a kid, I remember going to an A&W Drive-in with my parents, usually on a Saturday or Sunday evening. My parents usually had a hot dog or burger, I'd always have a toasted tuna roll. We had a '54 Ford Crestline 2 door hardtop, green with a white top. I remember the "hops" coming to the car to take our order and bringing it back on a try that hung over the window. Loved the root beer and I always looked forward to going.

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In the north Detroit area (Royal Oak) were Bob's Big Boys, The Totem Pole and Ted's drive-ins. All on Woodward Avenue where in the earlier '60s my brother and I would crouch down in the back seat of my dad's car while my sisters cruised looking for boys to "talk to". Later in the '60s those places were the hangouts of all of the street racers and car crazy kids. Here's a souvenir from the last time I was back in Michigan...

post-37352-143138538116_thumb.jpg

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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We had Bob's Big Boy by us too. Everything was a drive-in by us, we spent time at the drive in viewing our movies in a '68 LeSabre 4dr. We had plenty of room..

Uh oh! Brain fart.....senior moment! I meant to say "Elias Brother's Big Boys" are what we had.....two of 'em.

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Theres a drive in that I still go to even to this day. My parents used to bring me there all the time. Its in my old neighborhood in chicago. Superdawg. On the northwest side at the intersection of Milwaukee and Devon. Its been there since the late '40s and is still owned by the same couple that opened it. My parents first met there. Superdawg drive-in

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Coopers in Callao, Virginia. Used to breeze around every weekend, then back through town, U-turn, then do it again. Never got run out of town.

Then, I bought the new '68 396 Chevelle, drove 25 miles to Tappahannock, got run out of town the second night for "scratching off"! Darn, not even a ticket, A shame what some cops have become.

By the way, I still see my buddy in Tappahannock every weekend. He had the beautiful marina blue '67 396, cool car, still a cool guy. ;)

He has an attic full of racy historic magazines from those days, but that's another story.:)

Wayne

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In the north Detroit area (Royal Oak) were Bob's Big Boys, ...

A bit of trivia for those of you with fond memories of the "Big Boy" chain. It was invented in Charleston, W. Va. by Alex Schoenbaum. The orginial was was beside of an old style bowling alley and the second one was right up the street from the high school that both of my brothers and I graduated from. It was fondly called "Shoney's Hideaway" because it sat back from the main highway. There were several others in the area which are still open. The orginial was torn down years ago. The Hideaway became a Mexican Restaurant.

Alex Schoenbaum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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My dad used to take us to A&W all the time in his '64 Electra convertible. It was our treat night!

I remember one time we pulled in (would have ben 1973) and the girl on roller skates came and took our order. I usually had the whistle dog :-) A little while later the roller skate girl came back with a tray load of food and hooked it on the passenger front window. My mom leaned on the arm rest, the window went down and the whole tray went sprawling all over the ground!!

The restaurant brought us a whole new tray of food at no charge! Let's see THAT happening today!!

That very same 1964 Buick Electra convertible is on my garage as we speak getting a frame off restoration, hoping to be done to give BACK to my dad on fathers day 2012!!

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A bit of trivia for those of you with fond memories of the "Big Boy" chain. It was invented in Charleston, W. Va. by Alex Schoenbaum. The orginial was was beside of an old style bowling alley and the second one was right up the street from the high school that both of my brothers and I graduated from. It was fondly called "Shoney's Hideaway" because it sat back from the main highway. There were several others in the area which are still open. The orginial was torn down years ago. The Hideaway became a Mexican Restaurant.

Alex Schoenbaum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sorry, but the Bob's Big Boy chain was started in Glendale, CA by Bob Wian in the mid 30s

Bob's Big Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't think Shoneys' and Bob's had any connection

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In the mid '80s I worked at an Olds dealer. We sold and serviced a Custom Cruiser wagon to Mr. & Mrs. Berman. They own Superdawg. One day they arrived with a large heated box in the back of the wagon. There were enough Superdawgs in the box to feed everyone in the building, including the customers. It was a real treat! They are good people! Also, when ordering you must request a "Superdawg". Not a hot dog!

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Sorry, but the Bob's Big Boy chain was started in Glendale, CA by Bob Wian in the mid 30s

Bob's Big Boy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I don't think Shoneys' and Bob's had any connection

Somewhere along the line, these two different restaurant chains merged. They became Shoney's Big Boy.

Since the merger years ago, things have changed in some states and they have split again. I just read of this recently.

Wayne (used to love those hot fudge cakes:))

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My grandmother used to live 2 blocks from Superdawg. Unfortunately, you either love or hate the food. No one in my family ever cared for it, including me. But I'm glad enough people do just to keep that cool building with Mr. & Mrs. Superdawg on top still around.

And I learned a new word today, Googie. I'm going on a road trip this weekend and hope I see some Googies. :D I always love discovering that sort of thing on a trip.

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Ah! Big Boys, That one cost me a night in jail in "61". It seems that the local cop didn't appreciate me driving an antique fire engine ladder truck into their parking lot.

(Or was it the blunderbuss that my friend was carrying as a part of a costume for a Halloween party that we just left?)

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We still have Mama Possum's and they do a monthly cruise night 2nd Saturdays. Curb service and all.

Grew up with the Dairy Dell which is also still in business. They made their own hot dog chili sauce and had a killer "Chilly-dog" though their thing was soft-serve ice-cream- "frozen custard" to y'all not from here.

An old girlfriend's aunt ran one in the middle of nowhere called "Yonder Blossom Drive Inn". Aunt made a decent living with it and Amy and her brother both worked in it.

There used to be a local chain called Wimpy's that I miss terribly. As long as the original owner couple was actively involved, all seven Wimpy's did great. When the couple retired and the son got control, he ditched all the drive-ins and built a high-falootin steakhouse called Sir Richard's that had the consistently worst table service of any sit-down restaurant I've ever tried. The prices were high, the food mediocre, the service stunk.

If it hadn't been for its bar and lizard lounge, it would have gone under long before it did. And then the son made out like a bandit when the local airport decided to extend a runway and the restaurant just happened to be in the approach zone, and the city bought the property at an inflated price to get it.

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In Johnstown PA we had quite an array of drive-in theaters. The Richland (the site of a shopping center since the early 70's), the Family (I think now closed) and the Silver (still operating!).

For drive in restaurants, I remember Stuver's, a family owned place famous for its chicken sandwiches.

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Dad advertised his tire business at the local Drive In Theatre (Trail Drive-In in Glen Rock, PA)so he always had a stack of passes which I would help myself to. Pass to the drive in, Dad's '64 Caddy, a girl who was wild about me, life was good. One night it got so foggy that you couldn't see the screen. The proprietor offered everyone their money back yet hardly anyone left. My Son, now 27, finds it hard to believe that the drive-ins were open 7 nights a week during the simmer and that you often couldn't get a spot unless you arrived early. A veterinarian clinic now occupies the space but you can still discern the rolling berms from when it was a theatre. We bought a 1928 Ford 1 ton truck that was boarded up inside the screen but that's a different story.

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We had 5 drive inns in town. Had a 73 newpot and rolled in with 9 guys and 7 cases of beer....we weren't very smart in those days.....

MY dad has the best story... in the early 70's when my brother and I were like 10 and 12, one of the drive-in theaters would show adult movies one night a week. Well my dad took my mother to the movies. My brother and I got horsing around at home and he ended up with a gash in his head...so guess who got paged at the drive-in in the middle of an adult movie......and my Mom taught 1st grade.....LOL

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Do you know how many college kids fit into the trunk of a '64 Ford Galaxie convertible? I do. Unfortunately, the guy at the booth of the adult drive-in movie place noticed the rear bumper scraping the ground, and asked me to open the trunk. Guys scattered everywhere! I guess just me going in alone was a tip-off, along with the two cases of Budweiser on the back seat.

It all worked out. I paid and went in, and the other five guys climbed the fence behind the screen and made their way in. The movie? Deadly Weapons, starring Chesty Morgan. A classic.

Man, that was one of those nights to remember! Laughter, excitement...barfing.

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Our local drive-in was owned by an older couple who were just trying to support their quadraplegic son. As drive-ins declined in popularity they, like many theatre owners, transitioned into showing adult films (I have been told...snicker). They would show a "regular" film followed by an adult attraction. They once showed "The Ten Commandments" followed by an adult film. The municipality finally shut them down, primarily because the screen was visible to drivers on the adjacent interstate.

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Our drive-in movies have a 2 for 1 on friday & saturday, you pay to see the first showing when its dark then there is a free second showing that runs till about midnight but no X rated movies or anything like that, mostly horror films, etc..

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Another Superdawg story...

My last year of high school (early '90s), a friend and I went there in his dad's new Cougar. When the carhop came to take the tray away, my pal hit the switch to lower the window, not realizing that it had that newfangled 'automatic-one-touch-puts-the-window-all-the-way-down' feature.

So when the window disappearred into the door, the tray, empty food containers, napkins dirty & clean, ketchup bottle and the carhop's tip flipped into a puddle. The carhop looks at us, disgusted, and says '...just leave.'

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Wow, Reading these comment's take's me back. Who can't remember the aroma when the tray was brought to the window. Kid's in the back seat, don't even reach for the food or..."your gonna draw back a stub!".

Borrowing Dad's car to go crusing,with the warning..don't go far. The next day, it's...how'd you put a hundred mile's on it? Three town's=three drive in's, repeat! Town's only 5mile's apart, repeat!

The spotlight tag on the Drive-In screen during intermission, flashlight's were so obvious and were boo'ed. Once again, the aroma at the consession stand...yeah.

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When I started learning to drive I was forbidden to drive Dad's Caddy when he wasn't home. Happily he never removed the keys. We had a long stone "alley" behind the house that ran the length of our small town. I figured out that I could spend an hour or so driving up and down that alley, then jack up the Caddy, put it in reverse and "rewind" the odometer. Dad never did catch on (I think) but he often complained about the poor gas mileage of the Caddy.

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I remember my mom taking me to the McDonalds in Des Plaines, IL around 1955-56. she drove a maroon 48 Ford coupe which had recently replaced the 30 Model A she had before. I think you could go order at the window, there was no seating area like today, and we ate in the car. Those hamburgers and fries were amazing! Turns out that was the very first midwestern McDonalds. It was remodeled a bunch of times then they restored it back to the way it was in 55 and made it into a museum.

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I think there are only a couple driven in theaters around here now,the one that was closet to the house was the one we frequented the most and had a hole in the fence that we would sneak in. We would pay for the driver of the car which we loaded down with beer and send him in and the rest would go through the hole in the fence right after dark,we would spend all of our money on the beer and not have enough money to pay our way in so we took avantage of the hole in the fence that I think was still there when it closed.

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Anyone traveling to the mountains of Georgia, near the town of Clayton in the Northeast side of the state, just south of North Carolina line is a town called Tiger. They still have a drive in movie operating there. Has a playground for the kids, just like the old days.

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I'll never forget the time my mom took us 5 kids to the drive-in movie in our pajamas to see "Gone with the wind". There was a downpour during the burning of Atlanta.

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When I was growing up in South Florida there was a drive in movie about every 10 miles on US1, one in Lake Worth showed mainly Sci Fi movies. Today many people just have a home theater with myriad choices & do not need a curly insect stick.

BTW a full sized mattress exactly fit in the back of an A body station wagon and if you pulled in backwards with the tailgate down...

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One of the oddest things at the drive-in movie theater that was located at the foot of the hill we live on (it is now an 84 Lumber but the screen is still there) was the "toilets".

They weren't the normal flush toilets. :rolleyes:

They were a straight-sided white ceramic oval that had to be squatted over rather than sat on. :eek: :o No water so no flush. :D

Years ago my dad gave me one of the car heaters from a drive-in theater. He was friends with a man that owned a regular movie theater and that man had given it to Dad as a gift.

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You still have a drive-in? Wow!

My wife and daughter saw the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie and "Thor" Friday night at our local drive-in ( Now Showing at the Holiday Auto Theatre ). There are 2 in the Cincinnati area, this one about 7 miles from here.

There are 3 drive-in movie theaters in Pittsburgh's western suburbs, one with 2 screens (Twin Hi-Way Drive-In) and one with 4 screens (Dependable Drive-In). My 1960 Buick was loaded with the kids and found at one of the Dependable's screens most summer weekends when I lived there (4 miles away). The car's fins just looked to good in the reflected screen light to not go as much as possible! :cool::cool::cool::cool:

You may not live as far from an active drive-in as you may think. Around the year 2005 there were barely 400 active drive-ins still operating in the U.S., but that number has been on the increase since. (There used to be over 4000.) I understand that every state in the union except Louisiana has at least one drive-in.

There are several online directories, the most popular of which are: Drive-ins and Drive-in Movie Theatres at DriveinMovie.com & Drive-ins.com - Welcome to Drive-ins.com. Both list closed theaters as well as active ones, and some of the information may be dated (one theater that closed here in 2005 is still listed as active on one site--call or check the check the drive-in's web site first if you're goiing). Find one, and take you antique driver car there! :cool: Just remember you're going to need an FM radio to hear the movie (some things have changed, in this case for the better!). Also remember, 9-year-olds play Frisbee there before the movie starts (some things never change!).

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One more thing. With today's SUVs, pickups, and minivans parking at some drive ins can be tricky if you want to see the screen. Most drive-ins restrict those vehicles to the periphery, saving the middle for normal cars. BE SURE TO ASK IN ADVANCE. If there is no restriction on vehicle parking you may want to get there extra early to get a space with a good view, usually up front.

Thankfully today's gas prices have reduced this problem greatly for us car drivers!:)

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Yeah, its great when the weather is nice. It beats sitting in theater seats in a building..

One last thought: if Rain-X had been invented in 1965 they're would probably still be 4000 drive-ins. That stuff is the bomb when watching a movie in the rain! icon14.gif

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